UIC considers leaving Horizon League for Missouri Valley Conference
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media April 9, 2013 1:43PM
Updated: April 9, 2013 11:38PM
Conference realignment isn’t just affecting BCS conference schools but also mid-major, basketball-only schools. As a result, UIC is exploring the possibility of joining the Missouri Valley Conference, Flames athletic director Jim Schmidt told the Sun-Times.
The MVC is looking to fill the vacancy left by Creighton, which is set to join the conference formed by the Big East’s Catholic 7, including DePaul. Schmidt said he knows of at least four schools being considered for the vacancy. MVC officials toured UIC’s athletic facilities last Wednesday.
‘‘We felt that over the last 18 months, the collegiate landscape has shifted significantly with all these conference changes, and our university felt it would be inappropriate to not at least meet with them and understand a little bit more what they were looking for,’’ Schmidt said.
‘‘We at UIC were never looking to move,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re very happy in the Horizon League.’’
The Horizon League offers championships in all of UIC’s sports except men’s and women’s gymnastics. Schmidt emphasized that a move is not imminent and would be a collaborative decision by university administration.
The MVC has a tradition of sending multiple teams to the NCAA tournament — including Creighton and Final Four team Wichita State this year — which enticed UIC to pursue the possibility of joining.
‘‘There’s a lot that goes into it,’’ Schmidt said. ‘‘There’s a financial obligation as well for this institution to go into that league because of the additional travel costs and recruiting and everything else. So it’s a big decision.’’